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Track Description
"Filthy" is the lead single from American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake's fifth studio album, Man of the Woods (2018). The song was written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, and Danja, with additional songwriting from James Fauntleroy and Larrance Dopson. The electro-funk song was released on January 5, 2018, along with its music video, which is set at a futuristic technology conference and shows Timberlake staging a proof-of-concept demo for a robot. It was serviced to contemporary hit radio on January 9, 2018. "Filthy" debuted at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Timberlake's 18th top 10 on the chart as a soloist, and reached the top 5 in Canada.

"Filthy" was revealed as the first single the day after Man of the Woods was confirmed. Timberlake, Timbaland and Danja first collaborated on FutureSex/LoveSounds. All three artists co-wrote the song along with James Fauntleroy, who co-wrote all songs on The 20/20 Experience and all but two songs on The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 and Larrance Dopson of production team 1500 or Nothin'.

"I like to think of "Filthy" as the disruption between the world we're living in and his world. The world that he's living in with his family, his friends that he came up with, his musical roots and everything. We're gonna go into, easily, the other type of feelings and vibes of his album that were kind of presented in the trailer... is the kind of in-between thing, that jump-off thing that kinda wipes the palette clean for him to be able to tell the story that he wants to tell. I can't say that "Filthy" was described in the trailer, but "Filthy" played its role in the whole album."

— Danja in a conversation with Complex on why "Filthy" opens Man of the Woods.
Recording for "Filthy" was handled by Danja and Timbaland. The duo worked on the song in a separate studio, while Timberlake worked between two other studios, which had Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes in one room, and Rob Knox of The Y's and Eric Hudson in the other. Timberlake would compose certain sections of the song in his head, as he did in the FutureSex/LoveSounds sessions as well. Danja added screams, moans and breaths into the song, as well as the sound of a lion roaring. While the breakdown was conceptualised by Timberlake - Timbaland and Danja would create the breakdown as Timberlake would sing the melody. Danja, also experimented with the idea of hi-hats in the song but felt that they didn't "...feel right. It dates it, puts it into a place of what's happening right now. That's not where you want to be."

"Filthy" is an electro funk and R&B song. The song comprises funky electro-R&B elements. Billboard noted the song is a combination of anthemic rock with electro. The track opens with guitar licks, and it morphs into a "sleekly" industrial neo-funk number, complete with synth and a "snaking" bassline. Timberlake speaks/sings tongue-in-cheek lyrics during the track. As noted by Rolling Stone's Elias Leight, Timberlake keeps his voice in the middle of mix, "so the singer and the music are equal partners." The outro features vocals from Jessica Biel. The song was written in the key of G Major, with Timberlake's vocals spanning from D3 to G4.

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Mark Romanek

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